Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Health care needs sensitivity to whole person

Dr. Marcus McKinney, Director of Pastoral Counseling and Community Outreach at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford Connecticut, reviews Thomas Moore's new book, Care of the Soul in Medicine. McKinney observes:
"If you have ever been in a hospital - you will appreciate this book. Like taking a trip to a foreign land, when we enter a hospital, we enter into a whole new world. It has new language, unique rituals we know little about, white uniforms, requirements and rules that demand very different uniforms for me as a "customer". Our mutual goal (hospital staff and me as a patient) is healing. comfort and good quality medical care. And then there is the "illness", the "symptom", the "diagnosis".

In the complexity of our treatment, we do not lose our basic nature — human beings needing care — and the kind of care that benefits from high tech medicine yet also needs sensitivity to me as a whole person. Thomas Moore reminds us of Soul, those deeper things that attend to our needs (how a person approaches us, talks to us, what a room looks like when I am waiting, how food helps me feel better, etc) whether I am sick or not."
In the book, Moore acknowledges McKinney's support while exploring its themes.